Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/09/13

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Subject: RE: [Leica] RE: Re: My last word on Hexar, really.
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 2000 14:24:05 -0400

You know, guys, some world-class photo journalists and documentary
photographers work with auto equipment - over which, of course, one has
total manual control - and do far more meaningful and esthetically pleasing
work than the vast majority of Leica M and R users. And, by the same token,
a small number of Leica M and R shooters, working entirely in manual mode,
do far more meaningful and esthetically pleasing work than the vast, vast
majority of folks using autoeverything cameras. We're tallking about TOOLS
here....some people like and use Stanley; some like and use Craftsman; some
use nothing buy power tools; some use nothing but sweat powered tools.
They're all tools.

B. D.
A User Of Both Manual Photo Tools
A Day In Our Life...
Documentary Photography
of American Families

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of
> Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2000 12:39 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Leica] RE: Re: My last word on Hexar, really.
> In a message dated 9/12/00 9:43:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> << The Leica M will persist and continue doing an
>  incredible job of providing just the right tools for those photographers
>  who want to practice the craft of photography by exercising complete and
>  total control, at all times, over the photographic process.
>   >>
> I would add that in my experience the only consistent advantage that
> automation, in any form, when it is working optimally, confers is
> speed.  It
> can and often does slow and even interfere with the photographic process
> under conditions that are not within its design parameters.
> To work like HC-B, one should still employ the same methods he
> used 50 years
> ago.  It is still best to set the exposure and focus prior to
> bringing the
> camera up to shooting position.  Otherwise, the opportunity can
> pass while
> the autofocus searches, possibly in vain, or the photographer desperately
> tries to adjust the automated exposure to compensate for the bright
> background that simply wasn't behind his or her moving subject a
> moment ago.
> This has been my experience, at least.
> Given the latitude of today's negative emulsions, both color and black &
> white, what purpose is served by fretting over whether meter accuracy is
> within .1 stop tolerances?  With chromes, which I regularly shoot
> with the M
> system, for critical work bracketing is desirable if not necessary, with
> virtually any camera system.
> IME, the real long term effect of automation is to make the photographer
> dependent upon it, forget basic skills and, in the process, lose
> the "edge"
> needed to obtain the best possible photograph under any given set of
> circumstances.  Again, I speak in terms of what is generally understood,
> particularly by the members of this group, as "classic" Leica RF
> photography.
>  It is a long recognized genre, in and of itself.  Theoretically,
> it can be
> done well with almost any 35.  In practice, almost any Leica clone works
> reasonably well. However, as so many of us have learned after
> years of trial
> and error, it can be done best only with the admittedly imperfect and
> "technologically challenged" Leica itself.  The whole - body, lens and
> accessories - is greater than the sum of the many parts.
> Is the Leica all things to all dedicated photographers?  No -
> certainly not
> since the popularization and automation of the SLR.  But it is
> still best at
> being a Leica, without apology; and it is still best at giving the Leica
> photographer what he or she needs, without distractions.
> Joe Sobel